The Gambian economy showed strong growth and low inflation during the global crisis under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), despite a sharp drop in tourism and remittance receipts. Executive Directors appreciated the macroeconomic policy framework and stressed the importance of achieving the MDGs and targets on poverty-reducing expenditures. They encouraged strengthening of fiscal performance to anchor macroeconomic stability and reduce the debt burden. Directors strongly supported tax reform and welcomed budget procedures and their execution. Directors supported recent improvements in debt management and stressed the importance of debt sustainability.


The Gambian economy showed strong growth and low inflation during the global crisis under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), despite a sharp drop in tourism and remittance receipts. Executive Directors appreciated the macroeconomic policy framework and stressed the importance of achieving the MDGs and targets on poverty-reducing expenditures. They encouraged strengthening of fiscal performance to anchor macroeconomic stability and reduce the debt burden. Directors strongly supported tax reform and welcomed budget procedures and their execution. Directors supported recent improvements in debt management and stressed the importance of debt sustainability.

The Gambia: Relations with the Fund

(As of May 31, 2010)

Membership status. Joined September 21, 1967. The Gambia accepted the obligations under Article VIII, Sections 2(a), 3, and 4, of the Fund’s Articles of Agreements on January 21, 1993. It maintains an exchange system that is free of restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions.

General Resources Account

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SDR Department

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Outstanding Purchases and Loans

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Latest Financial Arrangements

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Projected Payments to Fund (SDR million; based on current use of resources and present holdings of SDRs)1

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Implementation of HIPC Initiative

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Safeguards assessments

Safeguards assessments of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) were completed in February 2004, February 2007, and November 2009. The 2007 assessment concluded that the CBG had initiated steps to improve its safeguards framework and recommended additional measures to strengthen the CBG’s internal controls and financial reporting practices. The 2009 update report concluded that the CBG had made good progress in implementing safeguards recommendations. The central bank continued to be audited by a reputable audit firm and implemented International Financial Reporting Standards. The assessment stressed that key safeguards should remain in place; most important, the term of the current audit firm expires after 2009 and a timely appointment of a reputable external auditor for 2010 and beyond will be needed. The assessment also recommended that the central bank formalize a framework for extension of credit to government to ensure compliance with the statutory limits.

Exchange rate arrangement

Until January 20, 1986, the Gambian currency, the dalasi, was pegged to the pound sterling at a rate of D5 = £1. On January 20, 1986, an interbank market for foreign exchange was introduced, and since then the exchange rate has been determined by market forces. Effective June 30, 2002, the exchange rate arrangement of The Gambia was reclassified from independently floating to managed float with no preannounced path. As of end-December 2009, the midpoint exchange rate in the interbank market was D26.94 per U.S. dollar. The Gambia has accepted the obligations of Article VIII, Sections 2(a), 3, and 4 and maintains an exchange system that is free of restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions. The Gambia maintains exchange restrictions for security reasons, based on UN Security Council Resolutions, that have been notified to the Fund for approval (EBD/08/86, 08/13/08) under the procedures set forth in Executive Board Decision No. 144-(52/51).

Last Article IV consultation

The Executive Board concluded the 2008 Article IV consultation (EBS/08/98) on September 8, 2008.

Technical assistance

The Fund has been providing The Gambia with extensive technical assistance in macroeconomic, fiscal, and monetary areas, and in improving the compilation of macroeconomic statistics. Specific technical assistance projects are the following:

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Resident Representative

Mr. Meshack Tjirongo was appointed the Fund’s Resident Representative to The Gambia in January 2010. He is also the Resident Representative to Sierra Leone.

The Gambia: Joint Bank-Fund Work Program, May 2010-June 2011

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The Gambia: Relations with the African Development Bank (As of February 18, 2010)

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group began lending to The Gambia in 1974. As of December 31st 2009, it had approved 57 operations with total commitments (net of cancellations) of UA213.82 million (US$332.32 million) in the following sectors: transport (24 percent); agriculture (22 percent); social (24. percent); public utilities (12 percent); multi-sector (10 percent); environment (6 percent); and industry (2.0 percent).6 About 85.4 percent of the Bank Group’s net commitments were made from the resources of the African Development Fund (ADF), 8.6 percent from the ADB nonconcessional window, and 6 percent from the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF).

As of December 31st 2009, 42 operations had been completed, 2 were cancelled at the government’s request, and 12 others continue, including 3 multinational projects, all in agriculture. Implementation of the portfolio is generally satisfactory; it achieved a rating score of 2.55 (on a scale from 0 to 3) during the Bank Group’s 2009 portfolio review. The portfolio has a relatively low project-at-risk (PAR) rate of 33.3 percent, which compares well with the Bank-wide average of 45 percent as indicated in the AfDB’s 2008 Annual Portfolio Performance Review (APPR).

The AfDB is also a major participant in The Gambia’s enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative program, under which it is to grant debt relief of US$15.8 million in net present value (NPV) terms (23.6 percent of total debt relief under the program). Of this, $6.3 million in end-1999 NPV had been paid as interim relief. Additionally, MDRI relief from the AfDB will yield annual debt service savings (net of HIPC assistance) averaging US$1.6 million over the 5 years following completion and US$3.9 million over the remaining 39 years.

The AfDB prepared a Joint Assistance Strategy (JAS) with the World Bank in early 2008 to cover 2008-11. The JAS is based on two main pillars—(1) strengthening the institutional framework for economic management and public service delivery, and (2) enhancing growth and competitiveness and the productive capacity of the economy. The JAS was prepared to help support the Government’s national priorities through the main channels of budget support and project finance in the context of growth poles and enhanced service delivery. The strategy was approved at the World Bank in February 2008 and at the AfDB in March 2008. A Mid-term Progress Report is currently being prepared to assess the implementation of the strategy at mid course. The JAS is anchored to the Gambia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper PRSP II (2007-2011) and has been supported by both new lending and the ongoing portfolios of the AfDB and World Bank. Table 2 summarizes the on-going portfolio of the AfDB while Table 1 below describes some of the recent projects in the portfolio:

Table 1:

Some Recent Projects in the Portfolio

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Table 2:

The Gambia: AfDB Ongoing Portfolio as of 31 December 2009

(Excluding Multinational Projects)

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Under ADF-10 and ADF-11, The Gambia is a grants-only recipient. Additional resources can be made available if there is improvement in both performance under the Country Policy Institutional Assessment (CPIA) and portfolio performance.

The AfDB’s strategy is implemented through both lending and non-lending activities. Lending activities will comprise project finance and budget support. Non-lending intervention is designed to strengthen policy dialogue between the government and stakeholders and focuses mainly on studies, funded through grants, to improve governance, mainstream gender, enhance efficiency of infrastructure, and improve the energy supply. The AfDB prepared a Governance Profile for The Gambia in 2007 and has recently collaborated with the World Bank and the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID) in the preparation of a study on Civil Service Reform. A Gender Profile is programmed for 2010.

The Gambia: Statistical Issues

Data provision has shortcomings but is broadly adequate for surveillance. While the authorities have made some progress in improving the compilation of economic and financial statistics, substantial shortcomings remain in national accounts, balance of payments, and external debt statistics. Data reporting to the Fund is somewhat irregular. The country participates in the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS), with its metadata last updated in the second half of 2003.

The National Assembly passed a new Statistics Act in December 2005 and work began in June 2006 to implement the plan for transforming the Central Statistics Department (CSD) into The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS). GBoS is now the single official source for important macroeconomic series, including balance of payments, national accounts, and price data, but data output continues to be affected by capacity weaknesses. A mission visited Banjul in February 2005 to prepare a data ROSC, which was published by the Fund in November 2005.

Real sector

The main constraints to improving national accounts include inadequate source data due to low response rates of surveys (manufacturing, trade, and business services industries), as well as poor quality of external data and inattention to other important sources (such as the household budget survey, livestock census, and census of industrial production). The GBoS continues to face human and financial constraints to undertake such surveys and process the data.

STA missions on national accounts in 2007, 2008 and 2009 assisted the GBoS to implement the 1993 System of National Accounts methodology and rebase the national accounts to properly reflect the country’s output levels, economic structure and relative prices. In this context, STA missions have helped the authorities: (1) process the data collected for the 2004 Economic Census; (2) rebase the GDP series using the results of the 2004 Economic Census; and (3) improve the GDP estimates by the production approach and begin compiling GDP series by the expenditure approach. The authorities now publish improved real and nominal GDP series compiled by the production approach for the period 2004-08 (with a base year of 2004). GDP series by the expenditure approach, while published, are still under review. However, the data continues to suffer from shortcomings and a number of recommendations provided by TA missions have not been implemented. In May 2007, the country began participating in the second phase of the GDDG Project for Anglophone Africa on national accounts, which is funded by the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID). The authorities have also been recently invited to participate in a follow-up DFID supported program with a similar focus on macroeconomic statistics, the Enhanced Data Dissemination Initiative (EDDI), starting in July 2010.

The World Bank has been providing technical assistance to the GBoS to update the consumer price index (CPI) using the 2003 household expenditure survey to better reflect current consumption patterns. The GBoS began to publish in early 2007 a new national CPI with representative expenditure basket as of August 2004.

Government finance

The authorities release data on central government transactions with a lag of about four weeks for both revenue and expenditure. Inadequacies persist in compiling data on an economic basis and in tracking foreign-financed expenditure. Monthly data on domestic government financing are available with a delay of six to eight weeks. At a meeting with STA in October 2007, the authorities expressed interest in technical assistance to facilitate the migration to GFSM2001. No data are being reported for publication in the Government Finance Statistics Yearbook or in the IFS.

Monetary data

The Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) has improved data reporting to the Fund, but sometimes the reports are delayed. Following earlier STA TA missions in April-May 2006 and April-May 2008, another follow-up mission in February 2010 signaled CBG’s poor progress in implementing earlier recommendations for compilation of monetary and financial statistics. This is mainly due to a delay in the reform of the source data for the central bank and other depository corporations (ODCs). A bridge table for compiling the standardized report forms (SRF) for the central bank and a new report form for ODCs designed in the 2008 mission were not implemented. Therefore, the 2010 mission redesigned bridge tables that could automatically generate the SRFs for the central bank and ODCs from the data that the CBG has used for its operational work. As a result, the CBG should now be in a position to compile the SRFs and submit the SRF-based monetary data to the Fund for publication in International Financial Statistics (IFS). Finally, the mission recommended the CBG to collect a wider range of interest rates, including lending and deposit rates by type of currency denomination of loans and deposits.

External sector statistics

Despite significant improvements, balance of payments statistics continue to be affected by shortcomings. These include modest delays in the collection of trade, customs, and tourist arrival data; outdated methods of estimating re-export trade; poor data on capital flows; lack of a register of firms and establishments engaged in external transactions; poor classification of balance of payments data; and lack of consistent methodology. Institutional weaknesses have also been a major impediment to improving statistics. Official grant and loan disbursements and repayments are generally well recorded, but there are some gaps in project disbursements.

The CBG produces balance of payments statistics according to the Balance of Payments Manual, 5th edition (BPM5). These statistics are published in International Financial Statistics (IFS) and in the 2007 IMF Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook (BOPSY 2007). The CBG has been compiling quarterly balance of payments statistics through a Fund-administered technical assistance project funded by DfID. The most recent data available are for the last quarter of 2009.

With DfID assistance the CBG conducted an enterprise survey in March 2006 to collect data for the international investment position. In April 2006, the CBG also initiated a survey funded by the World Bank to collect data on selected components of the current account.

The Gambia: Table of Common Indicators Required for Surveillance

(As of June 23, 2010)

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Includes reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions.

Both market-based and officially determined, including discount rates, money market rates, and rates on treasury bills, notes, and bonds.

Foreign, domestic bank, and domestic nonbank financing.

The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extrabudgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.

Including currency and maturity composition.

Daily (D), weekly (W), monthly (M), quarterly (Q), annually (A); irregular (I); not available (NA).

Reflects the assessment provided in the data ROSC published on November 8, 2005, and based on the findings of the mission in February 2005. For the dataset corresponding to the variable in each row, the assessment indicates whether international standards concerning (respectively) concepts and definitions, scope, classification/sectorization, and basis for recording are fully observed (O), largely observed (LO), largely not observed (LNO), or not observed (NO).

Same as footnote 7, except referring to international standards concerning (respectively) source data, assessment and validation of source data, statistical techniques, assessment and validation of intermediate data and statistical outputs, and revision studies.


When a member has overdue financial obligations outstanding for more than three months, the amount of such arrears will be shown in this section.


The Fund approved the decision on 12/15/2000 as Decision 12365-(00/126). The World Bank Board decision was taken on 12/14/2000.


Assistance committed under the enhanced HIPC Initiative is expressed in net present value (NPV) terms at the decision point.


Under the enhanced HIPC Initiative, an additional disbursement is made at the completion point corresponding to interest income earned on the amount committed at the decision point but not disbursed during the interim period.


The MDRI provides 100 percent debt relief to eligible member countries that qualified for the assistance. Grant assistance from the MDRI Trust and HIPC resources provide debt relief to cover the full stock of debt owed to the Fund as of end-2004 that remains outstanding at the time the member qualifies for such debt relief.


UA stands for unit of account = 1 SDR (equivalent to about $1.5542 as of Feb 2010).